- Wednesday, 29 February 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
Gambia and Algeria renewed their rivalry on Wednesday at the Independence Stadium in Bakau with the Fennec Foxes of Algeria coming from behind to beat the Scorpions of Gambia 2-1 in their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations first round first leg preliminary qualifier.
The two away goals and the lead after the first leg will make Algeria the heavy favourites to complete the job when they host Gambia for the return match in June.
Algeria started the better side with some quick counter-attacking football but they were not able to make good use of their chances. In the 20th minute, Adlène Guedioura scored what seemed like the opener but Malian referee Koman Coulibaly ruled it out for an offside.
Talismanic striker Momodou Ceesay alias Zico gave the hosts the lead in the 26th minute after some individual brilliant performance and at that stage, Peter Bonu Johnson’s charges were fairly comfortable in the game.
Four minutes later, Sanna Nyassi was set-up in the box by Ousman Jallow but Sanna just chipped the ball over the bar. The Gambian players later took control of the game with them aiming to hold on to their 1-0 lead.
In the 45th minute, Madjid Bougherra had a brilliant chance to level matters for his team but he could just watch his nodded ball blocked by the right hand side of the post. Gambia headed into the locker room with the one nil advantage.
Coming into the second half, Gambia continued from where they left and Algeria were so respectful to their opponents. In the 49th minute, Ebrima Sohna should have added Gambia’s lead but he could not just connect to Captain Mustapha “Toubabo” Jarju’s free-kick cross.
Goal-keeper Musa Camara gifted Algeria’s Antar Yahia with a goal in the 54th minute after failing to punch the ball out for a corner and trying to grip it which later resulted to him losing the ball and allowing Yahia to complete the simplest of tap-ins.
Sofiane Feghouli scored what turned out to be the winner three minutes later with an out of 18 yard thunderbolt shot beating Musa Camara at goal. Algerians later started to take control of things and it seemed to be going their way as they took control of proceedings.
Tempers began to flare later in the game with Ousman Jallow and Demba Savage receiving cautions from referee Coulibaly. Gambia had an appeal for a penalty through Ousman Jallow as he was brought down in the box but Coulibaly just overlooked the decision and decided for play to continue.
Seven minutes from time, Mamamdou “Futty” Danso had the chance to level matters for his team but after being sent a low cross by Saihou Gassama but Danso lost his footing. It ended 2-1 in favour of Algeria with Algeria collecting their first win at the Independence Stadium since 2006 while for new head coach Peter Bonu Johnson; it is his first defeat as head coach of the Senior Scorpions.
The second leg of the qualifier will take place in Algiers on 14th June with the winner advancing to the final round of the qualifiers.
Gambia 1 (Momodou Ceesay 26’)
Algeria 2 (Antar Yahia 54’, Sofiane Feghouli 57’)
Gambia: Musa Camara; Kebba Ceesay, Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Abdou Jammeh, Pa Modou Jagne, Mustapha “Toubabo” Jarju, Ebrima Sohna (Baboucarr Savage 55’), Demba Savage, Sanna Nyassi (Abdoulie “Kenny” Mansally 61’), Momodou Ceesay, Ousman Jallow
Algeria: Raïs M’Bolhi; Antar Yahia, Madjid Bougherra, Djamel Mesbah, Mehdi Lacen, Karim Matmour (Hamer Bouazza 71’), Foued Kadir, Liassine Cadamuro-Bentaïba, Adlène Guedioura, Sofiane Feghouli, Mohamed Amine Aoudia